It's finally time for the college search to begin!
As you embrace your junior year and the added responsibility that goes with upperclassmen status, don't forget to have a little fun along the way. Here are the top six things that should be on every student's junior year bucket list.
1. Take the SAT.
You've already taken the PSAT, now it's time for the big leagues. Just like the PSAT, finally being able to sit for the SAT is sort of a right of passage, you just feel so official doing it. But perhaps the best part about taking the SAT is that after you get a set of scores you're happy with, you won't have to study for it _ever _again.
2. Visit a college you've never heard of.
Many of my friends fell into the trap of only visiting colleges with big names: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc. However, there are plenty of colleges out there with fantastic reputations but less well-known names. Check out at least one college that you've never heard of before now or maybe never considered attending. Who knows, it might just be your dream school.
3. Visit your dream school.
It's also important to visit your dream school. Whether its a college you feel you can easily get in to, an all out reach school, or one way too far away from home that you'd never consider actually attending, visit it! If anything, it'll serve as your mental background for when you think about college. Whenever parents and friends start talking about college application season and what school you want to attend, this is the place that will pop up in your head and just the mere possibility of it will keep you excited about the whole process.
For more information on what to ask when you take a campus tour, read this article: 5 Questions to Ask on Your College Visit
4. Take on a leadership role.
Since you took the time to join a new club freshmen year, now you're in the perfect spot to start thinking about taking on a leadership role. Colleges love to see that you've stepped up to the plate in your organization to really help see it be successful. Pick one club that you've enjoyed being a member of, and consider running for President, VP, or another more active role. The experiences you get from this will serve you for years to come.
5. Visit your elementary school
Once you get to junior year of high school, suddenly elementary school seems like forever ago. Why not take an afternoon to go check out your old cubbies and say hi to favorite teachers? Nothing will make you feel more successful than realizing how far you've come since the fourth grade.
6. Learn to cook.
At some point in life, you will have to cook for yourself. Unless you want to be that college student surviving on nothing but EasyMac and Ramen Noodles, learn to cook NOW. For the rest of your life, you will be perpetually busy and ordering take-out every night will just seem easier if you don't know how to cook. While you have a little bit of time on your hands, learn the basics and save 25 year-old you from take-out overload.
About the author: Emily Grier is a senior at Penn State University earning her Bachelors and Masters of Accounting. Emily was a 2011 Collegiate Correspondent for USA Today College and former managing editor of Valley Magazine, Penn States life and style publication. She's been published on seventeen.com, The Huffington Post, Her Campus, Thought Catalog, and in The Pennsylvania CPA Journal. She spent Fall 2012 interning in London, England.